Most people strive for a beautiful front yard. After all, a green lawn has the power to make the whole house look neat and tidy. But when the opposite is true and weeds are springing up all over the place, the house starts to look a little less nice, even if you're good about mowing. If you want to keep weeds under control and help your grass thrive, you'll have to improve the way you maintain the yard.
To get rid of the weeds on your lawn, you'll want to start by determining the optimal height for your grass. Learn more about the type of grass growing in your yard, and start mowing based off its ideal height. This means that the grass itself will be healthily trimmed back (as it would naturally be trimmed back by animals, for instance), stopping weeds dead in their tracks by preventing them from ever growing large enough to be a problem.
Take note of the areas in your yard that struggle to ever grow grass. If you get rid of weeds every year only to have your grass die in those areas because the soil is poor or the light is too low, think about repurposing those spots in a creative new way. Turn them into raised bed gardens, plant a row of hedges over them, or plant something else in them that can thrive in those conditions. There's no point in continually battling weeds in places where grass stands very little chance.
Always remember that the best strategies for weed control involve helping your grass thrive. For instance, you could look up the best way and time to reseed your lawn in your particular hardiness zone. This will add density and lushness to your grass and make it harder for weeds to take root. Watering enough (but not too much) and fertilizing at an optimum level will give your grass the power it needs to fight off a lot of the weeds on its own.
Early Season Weeding
Weeding by hand when the weeds are young isn't as arduous as it seems. If your lawn looks relatively healthy, take a few minutes after each mowing to look for fledgeling dandelions and other weeds, and remove them as soon as you can. Bring a hand spade with you so you can dig up any that have surprisingly long roots. Pulling only the leaves off of a weed will rarely be enough to kill it, so keep in mind that every weed you can pull is one that you won't have to kill with an expensive or harmful chemical later on. It's good exercise, and your yard looks way better for it! Depending on the kind of grass you have, you may also want to reseed a bit in the areas where multiple weeds are pulled, especially if they got rather large before you caught them.
If you still notice weeds taking root after all this, you may need to spring into action. You'll find crabgrass preventer to be valuable during this time if crabgrass is a perennial problem for you, and applying it between the first and third mowings of the season will make it most effective since it will stop the seeds from ever germinating in the first place. These preventative measures are also valuable against other perennial weeds, so take some time to figure out who the culprits are and exactly where they are in your yard. After all, they've "picked" their spots because they provide them with ideal growing conditions.
Identifying your weeds will allow you to use species-specific herbicides on them. Broadleafs, for instance, are a type of weed that can be killed with a broadleaf-specific herbicide. If that herbicide were to get on some of your plants accidentally, it would still only kill the broadleafs. Focus your early efforts on the weeds that can be killed in non-harmful ways like these.
Use Weed Killers As Needed on Problem Spots
If a more intense weed solution is needed, the best plan is to turn to a nonselective plant killer. You'll want to use as little of this as possible, since it will probably kill your grass along with the weeds. Careful application (one method is to wear a plastic glove inside a cloth one, coat the cloth glove in plant killer, and touch only the weeds) will give you the chance to truly kill off persistent weeds. Once the weed killer has dissipated (you'll find information on dissipation rates on the packaging), reseed the ground with grass seed. With any luck, you'll have successfully prevented future weeds from growing on that open patch.
These strategies can all help you maintain a lush and healthy lawn while keeping dastardly dandelions and encroaching crabgrass to an absolute minimum. A healthy yard is sure to make the rest of your plants look even healthier than they already are.